Commission opts not to change cabezon fishing season

Staff reportJune 16, 2013 

The current fishing season for cabezon in Puget Sound will remain in place without changes, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission decided.

Commissioners, at their meeting June 7-8 in Olympia, opted not to adopt a proposal that would have trimmed the fishing season for cabezon by several months.

Instead, the commission kept in place the current season and put off determining the effect of other fishing restrictions adopted in recent years, including two measures in March.

The measures were reducing the daily catch limit of cabezon to one fish, and prohibiting the retention of cabezon measuring less than 18 inches in length in those marine areas.

Anglers can currently fish for cabezon in Marine Area 4 year-round and in marine areas 5-11 and 13 from May 1-Nov. 30.

Cabezon are bottomfish that inhabit rocky areas of Puget Sound, where the population is at low but stable numbers. The fish can measure up to 30 inches in length and weigh up to 25 pounds.

In other action, the commission held a public hearing and received a briefing on four options for managing Puget Sound’s giant Pacific octopus population.

Those options, developed by Department of Fish and Wildlife staffers in consultation with a 12-member citizen advisory group, range from one that would make no change to current rules to a ban on harvesting octopuses anywhere in Puget Sound.

Under current rules, a person with a valid state fishing license can harvest one giant Pacific octopus per day in most areas of Puget Sound.

The commission called for a review of those rules last fall after the legal harvest of a giant Pacific octopus near Alki Point in Seattle sparked a public outcry in October.

The public can find more information about the four options now under consideration online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/octopus. The commission will consider taking action on new regulations governing the harvest of octopuses in Puget Sound at its Aug. 2-3 meeting in Olympia.

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